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The Bridge Academy program is an initiative started in 2019 by the Statesville Family YMCA that provides support services to McKinney-Vento elementary and middle school students in the Iredell-Statesville School (I-SS) District whose families have been displaced by homelessness.

The McKinney-Vento Federal Act provides rights and services to children and youth experiencing homelessness, which includes those who are: sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; staying in motels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to the lack of an adequate alternative; staying in shelters or transitional housing; or sleeping in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, or similar settings.

Homelessness creates instability and has particularly adverse effects on children and youth including hunger, poor physical and mental health, and missed educational opportunities. Economically disadvantaged youth are 13% less likely to perform on grade level in core subject areas than the general student body. Additionally, children who reside in households with incomes below the Federal Poverty Line are 5 times more likely to experience four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), compared to children from financially stable households.

Kids at Camp HanesDuring the 2023-2024 school year, there were 423 identified McKinney-Vento students in the ISS system. The YMCA is currently assisting 35 elementary age students with year-round services. Middle school aged siblings are included in the program during the summer months. 

This program provides After School and Summer Day Camp programming, ensuring these students do not have to spend out-of-school time alone and unsupervised in their living situations. Students participate in personal development opportunities and academic tutoring provided by certified teachers. The program focuses on the social and emotional development of these students, creating a positive sense of self-worth and strong academic self-efficacy provided by adult role models with intentional programming and curriculum design. The children often do not have enough to eat or do not have healthy eating options, they are provided a daily healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner during the summer, and afternoon snack and dinner during the school year. 

Girl smilingOther enrichment opportunities include swimming lessons and a trip to YMCA Camp Hanes. Each of these students is included in our YMCA Bright Beginnings, which is a program that provides students in need with essential back-to-school supplies. Students receive a new backpack filled with all the necessary school supplies, a pair of name-brand tennis shoes, a gift card from Great Clips for a hair-cut, and a $125 worth of school clothes.  A new outfit on the first day of school helps children feel confident and ready to learn. Every student deserves to feel excited about the new school year and to start the year on equal footing with their peers.

While primarily serving youth, the entire family benefits from the Bridge Academy, providing each family with a household membership, and monthly parent engagement opportunities.  Affordable childcare will allow parents the ability to work or attend other programs that allow them to better their lives and not worry about their child during out of school times.  Student transportation is included to and from their place of residency.

Bridge Academy Components

A YMCA membership for family time during the non-program hours

After School care: Pick-up at the assigned elementary school and transported back to the YMCA for a meal, homework time, grade level educational curriculum and physical activities, group free play and transportation home to current residence.

Summer Day Camp: M-F transportation to the Y for social activities, grade level curriculum, STEAM activities, daily swimming, 3 healthy meals, and transportation back home at the end of the day

Swim Lessons: Swim instruction provided until green band level swimmer is achieved. Swim suits and towel provided

Youth Sports: Basketball and Soccer or the opportunity to swim on the TYDE Swim Team

Bright Beginnings Back to School Shopping Spree provides backpack with school supplies, new clothes, new tennis shoes, haircut, and hygiene products

A three-day overnight trip to YMCA Camp Hanes at the end of the summer

Christmas Blessings supports the family with new outfits, shoes and toys for the students as well as bedding, blankets, hygiene essentials, towels, cookware (hot plate, skillet, crockpot, etc.)

Daily easy to prepare take home meals 

Donate to the Bridge Academy

Help us increase our endeavors to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for vulnerable youth!

Bridge Academy Levels of Support

Based on per student cost annually

•    $5,000 provides a full year of all services provided through the program

•    $2,500 provides enrollment in either after-school or summer day camp

•    $1,000 provides daily ready-made meals while in enrolled in the program

•    $875 provides a year of membership for a two-parent household

•    $750 provides a year of membership for a single parent household

•    $500 supports a trip to Camp Hanes

•    $300 supports swim lessons and essentials while enrolled in the program

•    $250 provides Bright Beginnings or Christmas Blessings for a student

•    $150 provides a season of youth sports in TYDE, basketball or soccer

Our Mission: "Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body."